5 things to know about SD's US House candidates

10/31/2012 2:15 PM
By Associated Press

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Here are five things to know about each of the candidates for South Dakota's lone seat in the U.S. House.

KRISTI NOEM

— KRISTI NOEM: A FARMER'S DAUGHTER

Born Nov. 30, 1971, in Watertown, Noem cut short her college education and returned to her family's farm to help after her father died in 1994. The 40-year-old Republican congresswoman still lives on part of the farm near Castlewood with her husband and three children and ran several small businesses before being elected to the South Dakota Legislature in 2006 and the U.S. House in 2010. She finally got her bachelor's degree in political science this year from South Dakota State University.

— NOEM'S VIEW OF OPPONENT

Noem implies that Democrat Matt Varilek is out of touch with the average South Dakotan because he got two master's degrees from British universities and worked for an energy commodities brokerage. She regularly aligns Varilek with President Barack Obama.

— NOEM ON TAXES

Noem opposes raising income tax rates and supports a permanent repeal of the federal inheritance tax so family farms can more easily be passed from generation to generation.

— ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL

Noem tells voters she's one of them, touting her time on the family farm and raising children as experience that will benefit the average South Dakotan in Washington, D.C. In response to Varilek blasting her for missing many meetings of the House Agriculture Committee, she called the criticisms "hogwash" and said she hasn't mastered being in two places at once.

— SUMMED UP IN A QUOTE:

"I have a life experience of living and running businesses and raising my family in South Dakota."

----

MATT VARILEK

— MATT VARILEK: GROWN FROM MODEST ROOTS

Born May 19, 1975 in Yankton in a low-income household, Varilek worked his way through college, getting a bachelor's degree from Carleton College in 1997, a master's in economic development from Scotland's University of Glasgow in 1999 and a master's in environment and development from England's Cambridge University in 2002. He worked as an analyst in an energy commodities brokerage before working for several U.S. senators. Living with his wife and two daughters in Sioux Falls, the 37-year-old Democrat traveled South Dakota working with local officials as Sen. Tim Johnson's economic development director in 2007-2011.

— VARILEK'S VIEW OF OPPONENT

Varilek charges that Noem has slacked off in Washington because she failed to attend many committee meetings and was unable to get a farm bill passed. He says he's worked hard his whole life "like most South Dakotans have."

—VARILEK ON TAXES

Varilek supports raising income taxes on individuals making more than $200,000 a year and families making more than $250,000 a year. He would exempt most families from the federal inheritance tax, but believes it should be levied on extremely wealthy people.

— ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL

Varilek tells voters he understands them because he's worked hard to rise from modest beginnings to join the middle class. He shrugs off the GOP's criticism of his overseas education and says he's a fourth-generation South Dakotan familiar with the state's issues.

— SUMMED UP IN A QUOTE

"I will be a voice for middle-class South Dakotans and ensure we no longer have a member of Congress that favors the wealthiest individuals and corporations above all else."


Would you allow a natural gas pipeline to cross your farm?

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